Lee's Special Order 191 detailed his plans for the invasion of Maryland during the Sharpsburg Campaign of 1862. Unfortunately for Robert E. Lee, the order was lost on it's way to D.H. Hill, and later found by Union soldiers using an oldConfederate camp site. George B. McClellan, commanding General of the Army of the Potomac, would use this order to force Lee's Confederate army into combat at Sharpsburg, Maryland on September 17, four days later.
SPECIAL ORDERS, HDQRS. ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA
No. 191 September 9, 1862.
1. The citizens of Fredericktown being unwilling while overrun by members of this army, to open their stores, in order to give them confidence, and to secure to officers and men purchasing supplies for the benefit of this command, all officers and men of this army are strictly prohibited from visiting Fredericktown except on business, in which cases they will bear evidence of this in writing from division commanders. The provost-marshal in Fredericktown will see that his guard rigidly enforces this order.
2. Major Taylor will proceed to Leesburg, VA. and arrange for transportation of the sick and those unable to walk to Winchester, securing the transportation of the country for this purpose. The route between this and Culpeper Court-House east of the mountains being unsafe, will no longer be traveled. Those on the way to this army already across the river will move up promptly; all others will proceed to Winchester collectively and under command of officers, at which point, being the general depot of this army, its movements will be known and instructions given by commanding officer regulating further movements.
3. The army will resume its march tommorow, taking Hagerstown road. General Jackson’s command will form the advance, and, after passing Middletown, with such portion as he may select, take the route toward Sharpsburg, cross the Potomac at the most convienent point, and by Friday morning take possession of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, capture such of of them as may be at Martinsburg, and intercept such as may attempt to escape from Harpers Ferry.
4. General Longstreet’s command will pursue the same road as far as Boonsborough, where it will halt, with reserve, supply, and baggage trains of the army.
5. General McLaws, with his own division and that of General R.H. Anderson, will follow General Longstreet. On reaching Middletown will take the route to Harper’s Ferry, and by Friday morning possess himself of the Maryland Heights and endeavor to capture the enemy at Harpers Ferry and vicinity.
6. General Walker, with his division, after accomplishing the object in which he is now engaged, will cross the Potomac at Cheek’s Ford, ascend its right bank to Lovettsville, take possession of Loudon Heights, if practicable, by Friday morning, Key’s Ford on his left, and the road between the end of the mountain and the Potomac on his right. He will , as far as practicable, co-operate with General McLaws and Jackson, and intercept retreat of the enemy.
7. General D.H. Hill’s division will form the rear guard of the army, pursuing the road taken by the main body. The reserve artillery, ordnance, and supply trains, &c., will precede General Hill.
8. General Stuart will detach a squadron of calvary to accompany the commands of Generals Longstreet, Jackson, and McLaws, and, with the main body of the cavalry, will cover the route of the army, bring up all stragglers that may have been left behind.
9. The commands of Generals Jackson, McClaws, and Walker, after accomplishing the objects for which they have been detached, will join the main body of the army at Boonsborough or Hagerstown.
10. Each regiment on the march wil habitually carry its axes in the regimental ordnance-wagons, for use of the men at their encampments, to procure wood &c.
By command of General R.E. Lee
R.H. Chilton, Assistant Adjutant-General